packing up dreams by juleshg

28 Mar

“You did what?”

“I booked two plane tickets to Europe,” Peter said with a grin.  “Now, our flight leaves in six hours so we need to be at the airport in three.  That gives you two hours to pack so you better get moving.”

Peter hustled Paula towards the stairs and followed her with an empty suitcase in hand.  As she headed up to their room Paula’s mind was reeling.

“Peter, we simply cannot go away for ten days.  What about the kids?”

“Your sister will be here in an hour.  She is staying here at the house and looking after everything while we are gone.”

“You asked my sister to watch our three kids?”   Paula was shocked.

“No, she offered and I accepted.”  Peter headed over to the closet and started looking through the clothes hanging in front of him. “You are going to need at least two dresses for sit-down dinners.  Does the black one and the purple one sound all right with you?”

Paula nodded so he brought the two dresses back to the suitcase and began to lay them flat at the bottom of the garment bag.

“Peter, I can’t just pick up and leave work.  People count on me.”

“I called Janet three weeks ago and told her all about the trip.  She agreed on the condition that you send her a postcard from Paris.”

“You called my boss? Does everyone know about this trip except me?”

“Yep.”  Peter chuckled and moved over to the dresser where he started rifling through Paula’s neatly folded clothes.  “The hotel in Paris has a pool.  Do you want your one-piece or your two-piece swim suit?”

“Peter — Stop,”  Paula walked over to him and grabbed his hand.  “We really cannot afford a ten-day trip to Europe. “

Peter stopped and wrapped his wife tightly in his arms.  “Please relax and trust me sweetheart. Everything has been taken care of.”

With a quick kiss on the top of her head he released her and headed to the en suite  bathroom.   She heard him searching through the vanity drawers and collecting various bottles in the shower.

“How long have you been planning this?” she asked with a giggle.

“Four years.”

“Excuse me?   You have been planning this for four years and you never told me!”

Peter emerged from the bathroom with Paula’s bright pink toiletries case and dropped it into the suitcase.  “Do you remember when I quit smoking?”

Paula nodded.

“You told me that I should take the money I had been spending on cigarettes and bring you to Europe.”

“I was kidding.”

“Well, maybe you were but it was a damn fine idea.  Since then I have been putting my cigarette money into a secret account every week.   Three months ago I had finally put enough away so I called a travel agent and bought the tickets.”

Paula sunk down and on the bed and stared at Peter; she shook her head unable to speak.  Peter crossed the room and sat down on the bed beside her.

“Do you remember the night we met twenty years ago?”

“Of course I do…”

“We went to that little cafe on Sycamore Street and you told me about how you were going to go to Europe when you finally finished your degree.  You had it all planned out.”

Paula smiled.   “I had been dreaming of heading to Europe since I was thirteen.  And then I met you….”

“Exactly.  You met me and we got married.  We bought a house and we each got jobs.  Then the kids came and now it is twenty years and three kids later and you never left the continent.”

“I love my life,” Paula said squeezing his hands in hers.  “I love the kids and my job.  I have no regrets.”

“I know you don’t.”

Peter stood up and headed over to the dresser and pulled out two pairs of blue jeans to put in the suitcase.

“You have been a fabulous wife and an amazing mother and you have been the woman I always dreamed of.  But in the back of my mind I always felt guilty that you never lived your dream.”

“I had new dreams,” Paula protested.

Peter smiled and looked at the woman who had been the centre of his life for as long as he could remember.  “I know, and I love you for that.  But when I sat in that coffee shop twenty years ago I fell in love with an amazing, vibrant woman and I promised myself that I would help to make all of her dreams come true.”

Paula stood up and headed to the closet.  She pulled down a black blouse and a denim skirt and brought them over to the suitcase.

“I love you,” she said looking up at him with tears in her eyes.  After twenty years he was still the man she fell in love with sitting at that same coffee shop on Sycamore Street.

5 Responses to “packing up dreams by juleshg”

  1. ingridfnl March 28, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    Peter rocks. Really. 🙂 xo

    • juleshg March 28, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

      I think so too! My hubby asked if it was a hint!

      • ingridfnl March 28, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

        Yes. Along with a stopover in Amsterdam. 😉

  2. jmforceton March 29, 2010 at 2:43 am #

    Julesshg, where do you find husbands as good as this. What if my wife reads this?

    I never smoked but we spent 10 days in Paris before we got married, just to be safe.

  3. jadamthwaite March 30, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    How romantic! I really liked the journey Paula had to go on to reach the point where she was relaxed about the holiday. It must have been so hard for Peter to keep a secret like that for four years!

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